Home Deliberation Deconstructing Pro-Choice Arguments on Abortion: An insight into Roe vs Wade Case

Deconstructing Pro-Choice Arguments on Abortion: An insight into Roe vs Wade Case

The feminist movement widely catalysed the Pro-abortion movement. It was not simply because feminism believed in breaking free of the chains laid by patriarchy but rather feminist despised the concept of motherhood as it was an impediment to the path of ‘empowerment’. A colloquy of motherhood has been verboten in feminist theory for the most part.

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What is Roe vs Wade?

In the later part of the 20th century, the United States witnessed various dynamic social movements that created a paradigm shift on the concept of Social Justice. The feminist movement, the LGBT movement, the Civil rights movement and the Pro-abortion movement have had a perpetual impact on the present society.

Abortion had always been illegal in the United States since its advent. However, in 1973 Jane Roe (Anonymous for Norma McCorvey), a resident of the state of Texas filed for abortion in the U.S Federal court alleging that the Texas abortion laws were unconstitutional. Roe was pregnant with her third child out of wedlock at the time and the state of Texas permitted abortions only if the mother’s life was in risk or danger. The case proceedings took up a total of three years resulting in the birth of her third child who was given up for adoption just like previous two children.

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court issued a 7–2 decision (Judge’s vote in favour and against) holding that the due process of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides a fundamental “right to privacy”, which protects a pregnant woman’s right to an abortion.

Overnight the eradication of a fetus on the basis of choice had blossomed to be a Fundamental right. However, the law stated that abortion by choice would be only valid for the first trimester of pregnancy and an abortion after it would have to be approved by the state depending upon the risk to the life of the mother and other technicalities. Later on, in the Casey vs Planned Parenthood case, the Court overturned the Roe trimester framework in favor of a viability analysis, thereby allowing states to implement abortion without the restrictions that were placed by the Roe case judgement.

Prior to the overturning of Roe vs Wade case by the supreme court of US, access to abortions differed from one state to another. Much of the republicans/conservative states had accessibility to abortions for 20-24 weeks of pregnancy and majority of democratic/liberal states had access to abortions at viability or there was no limit at all. For all one could have an abortion in the 9th months of pregnancy as well. The prolife vs Prochoice adherence is another area that divides the republicans and the democrats and the policies they adapt play a significant role in the elections as well in the race for presidency.

Why was the Roe vs Wade decision overturned?

The decision to overrule Roe vs Wade debate was ignited by the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involving a Mississippi law banning abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy. However, it is to be noted that the supreme court has not enforced a ban on abortion rather it leaves it to the states to make their own decisions.

In its petition to the nation’s highest court, Mississippi questioned whether the Supreme Court’s precedents set by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were constitutional, arguing, “The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition.” The US Supreme stated in its judgement “It is time to heed the constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representative”.

The overturning decision has been welcomed and celebrated by the Christian evangelical right, yet however the judgement neither mentions a ban on abortion nor a return to Christendom’s take on abortion. It merely states that the ruling on abortion rely with the elected representatives of the state.

13 of the Republican states have already enforced a ban, with the option of abortion in the case of risk to a mother’s life is open. This was the law predating the roe vs Wade case of 1973.

De-Constructing the Pro-choice argument:

  • Abortion is a woman’s choice.

The abortion movement alongside planned parenthood organization have rallied and lobbied in favour of abortions. They have systematically used every tool at their disposal to advocate and to the extent promote abortions. The Friends TV Series prominent line of “No uterus, No opinion” is a common slogan to witness in the pro-abortion debate. The question remains, ‘Why’?

The laws regarding abortion state that Abortions is only a women’s choice and that the partners and husbands have no say in it. If the father of a fetus is excluded from the decision-making process on abortions, then he must be excused from all the responsibilities that befall subsequently to the women’s decision as well.

Secondly, if solely women can make the choice of whether to be a parent or not then how is it fair that men don’t get the same choice? Why should the man be forced to provide child support for a decision he was not included in?

  • The health of women are at grave risk as they would now resort to illegal means for abortion

There are various study that back this statement. A research study by the Guttmacher institute concluded “abortion services need to be improved and available more widely, especially for women at high risk for seeking illegal abortions, because “any actions which impede their access to legal abortion may increase their risk of death.” Although another study by the same Guttmacher institute suggests that “abortion rates in countries where abortion is legal are similar to those in countries where it’s illegal”.

Nevertheless, this argument too falls to fallacy. The illegal means to attain a procedure in by itself is wrong. The right step would be to close these mediums of illegal access to abortions rather than legalizing abortions altogether. It is as if to say that one must legalize drugs in order to avoid the resulting violence and deaths that occur due to the cartel and gang wars or illegal means of obtaining drugs.

  • Going back to the dark ages or the 21st century argument:

One of the foremost arguments put forth by liberals has always been that we are living in the “21st century”, pertaining to the fact that such laws or values are of the dark ages and need to be abandoned/eradicated in order for civilization to progress. President Biden in his statement responding to the supreme court’s decision said “the Court has literally taken America back 150 years”. 

Philosophers like Nietzsche have played a significant role in de-legitimizing morality and have widely influenced the western world.  He went onto say ““Morality is just a fiction used by the herd of inferior human beings to hold back the few superior men.”

The fact remains how so ever remains, that human values are universal and ubiquitous to all societies. Morality is objective and is not subjective to change with time. Abortion without any reasonable motive (Rape, Incest, Deformity of the fetus, risk to the mothers life) for the sake of ‘choice’ or the fear of poverty is outright a heinous act against the laws of nature.

Conclusion:

The feminist movement widely catalysed the Pro-abortion movement. It was not simply because feminism believed in breaking free of the chains laid by patriarchy but rather feminists despised the concept of motherhood as it was an impediment to the path of ‘empowerment’. A colloquy of motherhood has been verboten in feminist theory for the most part.

Radical feminist such as Shulamith Firestone articulated this most starkly in her argument that women would never truly be free of patriarchy until they were freed from the yoke of reproduction. She imagined wistfully a day when babies could be created in mechanical uteruses, freeing women from the physical subjugation of childbirth. This is precisely why most prominent feminist in history or otherwise have one or no children at all, with a few exceptions.

The supreme court’s decision will have dire consequences for the United States. Because even though abortion may have been banned, the intricacies leading to unplanned pregnancies (the leading cause for abortions) are open. The expanse of broken families, single mothers, abandoned fathers, teenage pregnancies and sexual promiscuities will result in a society that is bound to be doomed.  

Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) expressed her thought of meeting her third child who had been given up for adoption. When Shelley Thornton was tracked down (Roe’s third daughter) and was on phone with McCorvey, McCorvey “told her that she should have thanked her for not having an abortion. Thornton’s visceral reaction was “What! I’m supposed to thank you for getting knocked up … and then giving me away?” She went onto say “When someone’s pregnant with a baby, and they don’t want that baby, that person develops knowing they’re not wanted.” A mere glance at the life of Jane Roe itself would present us with an overview of American society.

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